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Joint Research Fellow (UNSW and Taronga Conservation Society)
Neil is a joint research fellow at the University of New South Wales and the Taronga Conservation Society, based in the Wildlife Reproductive Centre at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.
Neil completed his BSc at the University of Manchester in 2000, including a professional placement in Paignton Zoo’s science department studying the effects of captive baboon population management on stress and welfare. Before completing his MSc thesis on latrine use in wild meerkats at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) in 2005, Neil managed the Kalahari meerkat project for four years. He oversaw the work of a large international research team onsite, and managed all aspects of scientific research, study site development and logistics, including management of a research reserve, and reintroduction of native species.
In 2009, Neil completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge (UK). His work investigated scent communication in wild banded mongooses in Queen Elizabeth National Park (Uganda), combining behavioural observations, experimental manipulations and analytical biochemistry. Neil then worked for The Vincent Wildlife Trust for two years, as their pine marten project manager. His work resulted in the first hard-evidence of this locally endangered species in northern England for 20-years, and he developed a national conservation strategy for the species.
Since 2011, Neil has worked for the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, as a post-doctoral researcher on their African Wild Dog Bioboundary Project. This work investigates the scent-marking behaviour of African wild dogs in the Okavango delta, and particularly whether synthetic scent signals can be developed to manage the ranging patterns of this endangered species in order to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
In December 2014, Neil joined Taronga as a research biologist. His research interests include: animal communication and conservation; “problem animal” ecology and management; human-wildlife conflict; invasive carnivore ecology and management.